Me & My Car: Work or play, it’s all true blue
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Mustang owner Mike Powell is BDM for large fleets at North Harbour Ford, and member/magazine editor of the Auckland Mustang owners club
You have three Mustangs?
At home there are a 2009 Shelby GT 500, a 2014 GT Premium and the latest arrival is an MY 2017 GT RHD.
Let’s focus on the latest.
The car is a 2016 5.0 GT, manual in Grabber Blue with factory stripes. The GT sold in New Zealand is a surprisingly high spec, being a blend of the Premium and the Track Pack offerings sold in the US. I am a purist when it comes to mods and prefer to leave cars in their “as left the factory” state.
Why this Mustang?
From a design perspective, it retains classic cues of the generations that have gone before, the addition of an independent rear makes it a more relaxed drive than earlier models and it sets a new level for comfort and interior appointment. The stars of the show have to be the 5.0 V8 Coyote engine that, although introduced in 2010, continues to be refined by Ford and the hero colour, Grabber Blue.
What is so special about Mustangs?
I have always been fascinated by US Muscle Cars and the Australian made V8s (Falcon and Commodore) which are in their sunset period and due to go out of production. True blue Ford runs in my veins. The Mustang is a car with history, coming up 53 years of it. They are a great looking cars, represent fabulous motoring fun for considerably less than a number of other marques and across the world there is an active Mustang community.
The old cars are fabulous and I teeter between a 1967 Fastback or 1969 Mach 1; however I land in the more modern camp with the S197. (Ran from 2005-2014). It was this model that brought Mustang back from extinction, reconnected with the original roots. The S197 went through two major phases, 2005-2005 with the 4.6L V8 and the 2010-2014, which brought the new 5.0 V8 to the market.
It was also in 2007 that Ford’s special vehicle team reintroduced the “Shelby” nameplate with the reintroduction of the GT 500 in honour of automotive designer Carroll Shelby.
Who else drives your Mustangs?
Others can drive them. However being manual narrows the field down.
How often do you clean it?
Sick as this may sound, part of the enjoyment of owning cars is cleaning them. Time spent doing it does normally conflict with more pressing needs, but to me it is part and parcel of owning them.
I passed my driver’s licence 12 days after my 15th birthday and in desperation to get on the road, I picked up a purple Hillman Hunter. Sadly, and relatively soon afterwards due to a trail of mechanical issues, it would be fair to say I ended up loathing it.
Your dream car?
Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. It simply screams cool and I fell in love with it the first time I saw one.
Favourite car colour?
Grabber Orange is bright and serves as a reminder that you are here to have fun.
Any advice to young drivers?
Just be careful and drive within your capabilities. Any road fatality is a tragedy but it is all the worse when you hear of young people with bright futures needlessly killing themselves, often because they have taken silly risks.
What do you listen to?
Carefully selected selections. I am thinking Greg Kihn Band, BTO, Black Eyed Peas and Red Hot Chili Peppers through to the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
Can’t beat a quick trip down to Kaiaua. Possibly some of best coastline scenery, it is an easy day trip and there is a good feed of fish and chips at the Kaiaua Hotel plus awesome icecream should you do the run back through Pokeno.
Favourite race driver?
Shane van Gisbergen. Sure, he may drive a Holden but, hey, we can look beyond that.
Clearly there will never be enough buses or trains and I would hate to see more pesky bus lanes or T2 lanes. I am all for variable road toll pricing on key roads based on the hours you use them. I lived with this in Singapore with the ERP system for 17 years, and it did make a difference. The flipside means there has to be greater flexibility in employer/employee contracts in terms of working hours.